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The Best Men’s Wardrobe-building Pieces for Fall 2023

WWD 1/17/2023 Martino Carrera
© Provided by WWD

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In a Milan season grounded in real and approachable menswear, premium and luxury brands continued to deliver wardrobe-building collections hinged on high-end pieces to easily mix and match, sharpening their tailoring skills on bottoms and delivering plenty of knits as underpinnings to statement outerwear.

At Slowear, the latter category under the Incotex brand was expanded to include five new cuts, including double pleated and flat front versions, a silhouette intended to provide extra comfort and practicality, increasingly a need of all customers, including the ones into slim fit pants à la Prada. Done in micro gauged corduroy, they matched Zanone knits, including Bauhaus-inspired intarsia crewnecks done in collaboration with Milan-based La Tigre design studio. The season’s outerwear stars, the field and shirt jackets, were revisited by Montedoro in waterproof flannel, coated cotton and technical cotton drawing from an archival silhouette designed by Walter Albini for the brand in the late ‘70s.

Overshirts were all the rage at Tagliatore, too. The brand worked its black color palette with accents of peacock blue and turmeric yellow into madras and plaid overshirts, paired with plush knits. Sharp duster and flowing robe coats complemented the outerwear range, which played against new-fit pants including a recurring ‘70s flared style that appeared in a double-breasted aquamarine suit and several of its bottoms. A dedicated eveningwear capsule collection named after creative director Pino Lerario stood out for its subtle details, especially the flat and sharp pockets on a tuxedo blazer.

Knitwear continues to be the go-to layering piece, with soft and tactile designs stealing the spotlight. At Luca Larenza, the concise lineup included handknitted baby alpaca numbers bearing a cable knit pattern reminiscent of fishermen’s gear and a blue and orange patchwork turtleneck in which the designer combined all his favorite stitches. Corduroy pants in navy blue and woolen bottoms with cargo pockets were Larenza’s basics to match with a boucle custard yellow overshirt as soft as whipped cream.

Among the standard bearer of understated elegance, Massimo Alba once again presented a chic collection rooted in a sense of nonchalance and individuality.

“What I most love about my job is creating garments that are capable of making people feel at ease. It all comes down to sharing. This collection rotates around the idea that our clothes really do belong to everyone,” Alba said. “There is no such thing as a tribe or a specific demographic to which we aspire to speak. It is the inverse of exclusivity. We oppose the concept of a niche. I’ve always designed with real people in mind.”

Reflecting such an approach, Alba played with wardrobe essentials cut in relaxed silhouettes and crafted from soft textures. The gentle lines of the Sloop suit were rendered in pinstripe, prince of Wales and corduroy options, and paired with knitwear rather than shirts to enhance the laidback attitude. Think turtlenecks, half-zip and crewnecks, all crafted from lightweight cashmere for comfort and warmth, and flanking thicker knits in mohair, wool and alpaca.

At Lardini, a trifecta of styles aimed to cover all the gaps in a modern men’s wardrobe. Formal tailoring that the brand has been mastering for years: check. A new, ‘80s rock twist to the Lardini codes with the introduction of biker jackets: check. Monochrome looks for every day: check — and particularly significant of that sought-after easiness in today’s approach to dressing. Capes, coats, jackets, pants and knitwear were available in monochrome black, navy, gray, cream and military green tones and made for the perfect wardrobe builders.

A casual attitude intertwined with a Western vibe in the Boglioli fall 2023 collection, where corduroy suits took center stage and were styled with denim shirts and pants for a fresher take on tailoring. A champagne-toned double-breasted velvet suit was the highlight of the range and must-have piece for the Boglioli man.

Brett Johnson’s idea of wardrobe is very much rooted in easygoing silhouettes with a casual flair and precious fabrics. For fall, he employed superfine cashmere and virgin wool for coats and jackets, including technical options crafted from a wool and silk blend and padded with thin down fibers and a 30,000-euro vicuna coat, the most expensive item in the collection. The U.S.-based designer had his Milan atelier expand the knit range with tactile and 3D patterns and tailoring with deconstructed blazers nodding to leisurewear.

Pal Zileri’s design team members turned their eyes up to the sky unveiling the “Universal Explorer”  collection for fall. Rich in outerwear, the range included beautiful reversible shearling bombers, or ones lined with wool. Layering added depth and texture to the relaxed, versatile and functional collection. Jackets and suits were presented in cotton velvet treated with a special finishing that added a moon-like shine. A fitted coat showed well defined shoulders with ’90s inspiration. Cashmere turtlenecks, flannel shirts and knits with jacquard motifs inspired by photos of planets completed the looks. The color palette was also inspired by the sky with cobalt, Milky Way, Neptune blue and cloud hues.

Making its runway debut at Milan Fashion Week, complete with a live violin performance, Shanghai Tang unveiled a streamlined collection, generous in proportions, contemporary in spirit, and with subtle Eastern details true to the brand’s roots in Hong Kong. Many loose, long tailored jackets fastened with frog closures, or were belted tightly. Ribbon-like scarves and embroidered start motifs added pep to many outfits.

A decidedly more casual vibe ran through the Harmont & Blaine collection, defined by bright colors accentuating knits with graphic and striped patterns, and houndstooth jackets. A strong sustainability component informed fabric research, with eco-cashmere and traceable organic cotton and Fellex, a green padding fiber, providing warmth and breathability to layering pieces.

At Eleventy, varsity jackets and collegiate suits with cargo pants and bomber tops, as well as pinstriped suits layered under technical puffers, conjured a preppy vibe as the brand continued to build on its tailoring-meets-sportwear aesthetic. Cue blazers with softer unpadded shoulders, puffer jackets crafted from knit jerseys, soft shearling pieces over double-breasted jackets and polo shirts.

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